There are many explanations as to how the "JORDAN" name came into existence. The following paragraphs are five examples: 1. The Jordan portion of the family name originated, it is said, in the fact that Jordan De Courcey went as standard bearer with the English Crusades to the Holy Land, and in a great battle which took place between Christians and the Saracens on the banks of the river Jordan, was so vigorously attacked by the Saracen host, that on three or four occasions his standard, which was the Banner of the Cross, almost disappeared from view of the Christians, who therefore, greatly feared for his safety; but from his extraordinary strength, the help he received from his followers, De Courcey re-appeared with the standard, as if miraculously, and on each occasion dealt destruction to the enemy. Hence the adoption by his descendants, the De Exeters, of the name Jordan, in memory of their ancestor's remarkable prowess on that occasion; and the addition of the çross, Crosslet, and Lion to their Arms, with the motto – “Percussus Resurgo” (when struck down I will rise again)
2. The Italian version: The Jordan surname derives from a young noble from the city of Ravenna , who at 18 years of age, enrolled in the Knights of the Tosson d'Or under the command of Baron Marc Antonio Colonna di Ravezza. After ten years of fighting the cadre of 200 was reduced to 13 and Colonna decided to return to Italy - specifically to Abruzzo. Before his return, our antecedent was re-baptized in the river Jordan to cancel out his previous life and to lustrate himself from the ten year contact with death. He was given the name "Iordanus", which he took back to Abruzzo. Upon his return in the spring of 1154, he was rewarded with our family's first feudal holding in Abruzzp Citeriore - Torino di Sangro. The name changed over the centuries from "de Iordanus" to "di Giordano". It was Il Magnifico Don Vincenzo di Iordano (1741- 1810) who "italianized" the name in 1757.
3. Irish Version: "Jordan (Mac Siurtain)" is a Gaelic patron adopted by the d' Exeter family, one of those which acquired estates in Connach after the Anglo-Norman invasion; that territory was later called Mac Jordan's country. The name is now numerous in all the provinces.
4. Another tradition has it that knights returning from the Crusades would often bring back containers of water from the Jordan River in the Holy Lands. The Jordan River was considered very holy water. They used this water to baptize their sons, often giving them the name Jordan. As these sons grew up with the first name Jordan, some gained their own "clans" or holdings , and, as was often the case, the members of that clan took the leaders given name as their surname.
5. During the 3rd crusade in 1100, King Richard saw a person (Sir William Deardon) slay a fearsome Saracen foe in the Jordan river. The King then dubbed him as Sir Jordan in honor of his heroic deed. Then Sir Jordan appealed to the King for permission to change his surname to Jordan and the name of the Hamlet where he lived. The King approved, this is recorded by the Dartmoor Historical Society. In Salisbury, England, one of the Deans on the list at Old Sarum Cathedral is 'Jordan', the year was 1176. This list can be found in the Salisbury Cathedral today.
My Own Family Crest Design Combining the Jordan Rampant Lion with motto "Struck down I arise" and the Davidson Stag with motto "Wisely if sincerely". and just for fun: (although possibly considered politically incorrect in today's climate) “Deus Vult” - Latin for “God wills it,” which became a stirring declaration for the Crusaders and ultimately the origins of the Jordan surname.